Fred Lewis the newest Cincinnati Red

A year ago today, Aroldis Chapman. Today, Fred Lewis.

It’s easy to forget that the Reds are primarily a right handed hitting outfield aside from Jay Bruce. This gives them a guy who will only be 31 years old, and a guy who will add some ability at the top of the lineup. The Reds haven’t had a true lead off hitter in a long time. It’s pretty much a staple quality of any Reds lineup for the last decade.

Lewis, 30, hit .262/.332/.414 in 480 plate appearances for the Blue Jays after they acquired him from the Giants early in the season. Though he mostly played left field, Lewis did play some center and right in 2010. He contributed 31 doubles and 17 steals, mostly as Toronto’s leadoff hitter, before the Blue Jays cut ties with him at last month’s non-tender deadline.

Get a look at Lewis career stats. His career splits reveal that he’s hit lead off 205 games in his career. He’s also hit everywhere else in the lineup in about that many games spread 2 through 8. So while this is a guy that Dusty Baker might fall in love with in the lead off spot the way he loved Corey Patterson a few seasons back; it’s not a fail proof move (Lewis sports a .775 career OPS from the lead off spot).

I give the Reds credit. They did more than just add Jeremy Hermida. One or both of these guys will contribute in 2011. This probably means the end of Laynce Nix–he of pornstar frame-fame. However, a fair trade if we found a true lead off hitter.